Hurricane Harvey hit Houston on August 27. That is the morning Lori and Mike and their two rescue dogs, Gunther and Gertie, were picked up from their flooded home by canoe by a brave and caring neighbor. Their home, built in 1956, took almost 3 feet of water. Both of their cars, a 2002 Honda and a 2003 Nissan had water over the dashboards and were total losses.
Mike is 71 and on a fixed income. A former iron-worker, he was scheduled for knee replacement surgery on the 29th. He's had mobility issues for some time and and can't get around very well. The surgery was cancelled until their home is repaired and is clean and safe to return to. He also has a heart condition (A-Fib), Diabetes, Neuropathy (tingling and loss of sensation) in his hands and lower legs, PVD (Peripheral vascular disease, problems with his circulation), hearing loss, gout and dental problems. Lori also needs dental surgery that has been on the back burner because of Mike's health issues and it is not covered by her health insurance.
Lori has worked at the Houston Medical Center for 13 years and loves her job. But she is a contract employee. When not working, she will not get paid (no paid leave time). She has no health care or other benefits through her employers. She had scheduled two weeks unpaid leave to take care of Mike after his surgery, but she has not been able to return to work as she is handling everything related to their losses.
Mike and Lori are in a motel paid for by FEMA until Nov. 7. They are grateful as they are able to keep their dogs with them and the motel serves breakfast every day. However, they are 10 days away from not having a roof over their head and a bed to sleep in.
FEMA has not helped with any other expenses including medical costs incurred by the flood, Mike contracted Staph infection from his rubber boots rubbing into his calves while standing in the water all night and his hearing aids were soaked in the flood water. They are appealing but FEMA is not helping at all at this point.
In trying to get back in the home, a plumber came out last week to replace the hot water heater and repair a leak that occurred during the removal of wood paneling after the flood. He ran the 'snake' through the drain and determined there is a broken pipe underneath the foundation of the house. A $2900 plumbing bill became a $9,050 bill. The plumbers are going to have to tunnel under their home to replace the broken pipe.
Lori and Mike have minimal insurance coverage because the home is older and the insurance is not required. They have not received any money from their insurance are having to save and salvage anything they possibly can. Lori was most recently notified by the National Flood Insurance Program that Hurricane Harvey put them in a higher payment tier. The premiums for limited coverage will increase 30%.
Everything was lost in their home, their bed, stove, refrigerator, furniture, washer and dryer, hot water heater, food, clothing, pictures and sentimental items and both vehicles. They have received a few gift cards for food and it has helped! They need more help now for these major expenses. Please read Lori's account of their rescue:
"Today is the 2 month anniversary of Hurricane Harvey. This is the video of our neighbors rescuing us. I had called 911 at 1:00 a.m., Aug. 27th, but was told there were 2000 people ahead of me waiting for boat or air rescue. We do not, however, have a second story or even an attic. You can't see our house in the video, it's directly across the street. We'd never met the men in the canoe when they paddled up to our front door and took me and Gertie onto the boat. No life vests, in 9 ft deep, rapid water. Don't ask me how I got us on board without tipping over! Once safe on our neighbors porch, they rowed back across for Mike and Gunther. Mike was scheduled for a knee replacement that week, as he has no flexion in his joints. He couldn't get in the canoe. He pushed a very frightened Gunther, into the middle seat and used the narrow boat as a flotation device by holding onto the end. When Mike could feel land under his feet, he was at the tree in the neighbor's front yard. At the tree, he let go of the canoe and used his arms to get to the front steps of our neighbor's home."
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